Respecting Students, Acquiring Humility,and Ignoring the Curriculum
There is much talk and theorizing these days about narrative techniques and prescriptive approaches to love in the classroom and education at large as though these were new and novel methodologies. This paper as a voice(s) inside a secondary school seeks to address this issue indirectly through the experience of a teacher who has been given a classroom full of problematic grade 11 students. These students, for all practical purposes, are no longer cared for by their respective school system and they, in turn, have also given up on that system as well. They are all segregated on the basis of their poor reading skills and lack of self- discipline into a classroom that no one wants to teach. The highly unwanted job is given to a neophyte teacher, the author of this paper too many years ago, who ultimately has little choice in the matter. This teacher is highly unsuccessful in the beginning because he develops an intense dislike for these students in order to cope with their outward and self-destructive tendencies. In turn , in order to cope with his inadequacy and anxiety in teaching these students successfully. he pictures himself being ridded of them even in his dreams. Only with his emergent respect, humility, a disregard for the required curriculum and a love for his students that is ultimately reciprocated by them do they all learn to work together in a harmonious manner. Through ancient history, the opera, provocative literature and a special fieldtrip the teacher discovers that he has more to learn from his students than they could ever learn from him.
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